Emma & Jes | Wolf Lake, Wurtsboro NY | Upstate New York Wedding Photography | Apollo Fields Wedding Photographer
There are certain weddings — certain couples — that I just feel called to. I can’t always explain it but things will fall into place exactly the way that they are meant to and this wedding was a perfect example of that. My sister went to elementary school with Emma’s brother and those couple degrees of separation were enough for our paths to cross at the right place and right time.
Call it a little slice of fate, or perhaps even faith, considering that one of the ways that Jes reconciles decisions is to pray to her father in heaven, flip a coin, and let destiny do the work. This is ultimately what led Jes and Emma to connecting, when a flip of a coin swayed Jes into taking a night shift (they are both nurses) and they were able to get to know one another and exchange numbers. Fast forward to wedding planning and Jes also flipped a coin to help them decide whether or not to get married in March or June, and it landed on March (which was great for me since my Junes are usually booked solid).
They decided to have an intimate wedding at Emma’s mothers lake house, “Moondance”, which is an adorable and eclectic little home tucked into the woods of Wolf Lake with beautiful water views. Her mom, Sandy, was such a gracious host and her hospitality was tangible. The home was buzzing with everyone getting ready when I walked in and it was such a warm welcome.
Being back up in Wurtsboro was trippy— it’s where my family lived for years when we were younger and driving those same roads, past our old house, and walking through the same woods brings up memories that have faded so far into the back of my mind that even I forgot they were there. I walked around the Bashakill to get “into my zone”, a little pre-wedding day ritual that I always do, and just breathed in the experience of working and creating art in places that I thought were left in childhood.
The timing of Jes and Emma’s wedding couldn’t have been better and I loved getting to know this awesome couple. One of my favorite sentiments from Emma was when she told me that, “Jes says she fell in love with me the minute she saw me. Walking down the hall at work, just being a nurse. . We have so much fun together, she really is my best friend”. Their first formal date was when they got dressed up and went to see the Polar Express in IMAX and went for all-you-can-eat-sushi afterwards.
Their engagement also gave me all the feels. First of all, Jes made their rings. FROM SCRATCH. As in, she took a jewelry making class and then spent twelve hours perfecting Emma’s engagement ring six months before proposing. Out of all of the weddings I’ve ever shot, this was a first for me. And they weren’t rinky dinky DIY rings, these were the real deal (see pics, they are stunning). Jes is clearly the kind of person that goes the mile and does things right.
When I was chatting with them about the proposal, Emma said the sweetest thing. She was talking about how she had no idea that it was happening until halfway through the video Jes made and had an OMG-this-is-really-happening epiphany! But in the most raw and honest way, Emma said to me, “We didn’t need forever to figure out this was the real deal. This was it, Jes was it”.
I love how Emma describes Jes: “Anything you can do I can do better” should be Jes’s theme song. She has high standards for herself, and is constantly trying to be better especially as things that may usually be considered masculine- firefighting, fixing cars, Jes takes a lot of pride in being a woman who can keep up with the men. I also loved photographing Jes for this same reason, she exudes a lot of masculine strength but has a soft and feminine gaze behind her eyes. It makes for very powerful photographs and I love when my couples are so uniquely themselves that they can pull qualities from both genders and just totally be themselves.
Jes described Emma in such a great way, too: Emma would be Evelyn Johnson McCawley from the movie Pearl Harbor. A nurse, someone with a lot of love to give, fierce loyalty, beautiful, and when shit gets real she knows how to buckle down and get the job done, especially if the job at hand involves serving and taking care of others. This I can promise you, is true, because when the day was winding down I was able to join them for dinner, an amazing spread of homemade food with some of Jes’ mother Rosie’s DELICIOUS Mexican cuisine. I wanted to drink the green sauce, and in fact I think I might have. If I remember correctly it was tomatillo and I want to do shots of this stuff (I wouldn’t be mad if a jar of it randomly got sent to my house, wink wink).
Jes and Emma have dreams of building a tiny house on top of a mountain or on a body of water and I have no doubt that this badass duo will. “We want to travel the world as much as possible. Eventually we want to become as self sufficient as possible and to decrease our carbon foot print- growing our own food, solar panels, and just doing more with less in general”. I’m so excited to share these sneak peeks and some of their story and cannot wait to see what these awesome women do next!
Jes & Emma’s Intimate Wedding Highlight Photos:
Heather loves photographing intimate weddings, please reach out to see if she is available on your date!